National Fire Danger Rating System - 1978
Fuel Model Definitions
Fuel Model A
|This fuel model represents western grasslands vegetated by
annual grasses and forbs. Brush or trees may be present but are very sparse,
occupying less than a third of the area. Examples of types where Fuel Model A should
be used are cheatgrass and medusahead. Open pinyon-juniper, sagebrush-grass, and
desert shrub associations may appropriately be assigned this fuel model if the woody
plants meet the density criteria. The quantity and continuity of the ground fuels
vary greatly with rainfall from year to year.
Fuel Model B
|Mature, dense fields of brush 6 feet or more in height are
represented by this fuel model. One-fourth or more of the aerial fuel in such stands
is dead. Foliage burns readily. Model B fuels are potentially very dangerous,
fostering intense fast-spreading fires. This model is for California mixed chaparral
generally 30 years or older. The F model is more appropriate for pure chamise
stands. The B model may be used for the New Jersey pine barrens.
Fuel Model C
|Open pine stands typify Model C fuels. Perennial grasses
and forbs are the primary ground fuel but there is enough needle litter and branchwood
present to contribute significantly to the fuel loading. Some brush and shrubs may
be present but they are of little consequence. Situations covered by Fuel Model C
are open, longleaf, slash, ponderosa, Jeffrey, and sugar pine stands. Some
pinyon-juniper stands may qualify.
Fuel Model D
|This fuel model is specifically for the palmetto-gallberry
understory-pine overstory association of the southeast coastal plains. It can be
also used for the so-called "low pocosins" where Fuel Model O might be too
severe. This model should only be used in the Southeast because of a high moisture
Fuel Model E
|Use this model after leaf fall for hardwood and mixed
hardwood-conifer types where the hardwoods dominate. The fuel is primarily hardwood
leaf litter. The oak-hickory types are best represented by Fuel Model E, but E is an
acceptable choice for northern hardwoods and mixed forests of the Southeast. In high
winds, the fire danger may be underrated because rolling and blowing leaves are not
accounted for. In the summer after the trees have leafed out, Fuel Model E should be
replaced by fuel Model R.
Fuel Model F
|Fuel Model F is the only one of the 1972 NFDRS Fuel Models
whose application has changed. Model F now represents mature closed chamise stands
and oakbrush fields of Arizona, Utah, and Colorado. It also applies to young, closed
stands and mature, open stands of California mixed chaparral. Open stands of
pinyon-juniper are represented; however, fire activity will be overrated at low windspeeds
and where there is sparse ground fuels.
|Fuel Model G
||Fuel Model G is used for dense conifer stands where there is a
heavy accumulation of litter and downed woody material. Such stands are typically
overmature and may also be suffering insect, disease, wind, or ice damage -- natural
events that create a very heavy buildup of dead material on the forest floor. The
duff and litter are deep and much of the woody material is more than 3 inches in diameter.
The undergrowth is variable, but shrubs are usually restricted to openings.
Types meant to be represented by Fuel Model G are hemlock-Sitka spruce, Coast Douglas-fir,
and windthrown or bug-killed stands of lodgepole pine and spruce.
|Fuel Model H
||The short-needled conifers (white pines, spruces, larches, and
firs) are represented by Fuel Model H. In contrast to Model G fuels, Fuel Model H
describes a healthy stand with sparse undergrowth and a thin layer of ground fuels.
Fires in H fuels are typically slow spreading and are dangerous only in scattered areas
where the downed woody material is concentrated.
|Fuel Model I
||Fuel Model I was designed for clear-cut conifer slash where
the total loading of materials less than 6 inches in diameter exceeds 25 tons/acre.
After settling and the fines (needles and twigs) fall from the branches, Fuel Model I will
overrate the fire potential. For lighter loadings of clear-cut conifer slash, use
Fuel Model J, and for light thinnings and partial cuts where the slash is scattered under
a residual overstory, use Fuel Model K.
|Fuel Model J
||This model complements Fuel Model I. It is for clearcuts
and heavily thinned conifer stands where the total loading of materials less than 6 inches
in diameter is less than 25 tons/acre. Again, as the slash ages, the fire potential
will be overrated.
|Fuel Model K
||Slash fuels from light thinnings and partial cuts in conifer
stands are represented by Fuel Model K. Typically the slash is scattered about under
an open overstory. This model applies to hardwood slash and to southern pine
clearcuts where the loading of all fuels is less than 15 tons/acre.
|Fuel Model L
||This fuel model is meant to represent western grasslands
vegetated by perennial grasses. The principal species are coarser and loadings
heavier than those in Model A fuels. Otherwise the situations are very similar;
shrubs and trees occupy less than one-third of the area. The quantity of fuel
in these areas is more stable from year to year. In sagebrush areas Fuel Model T may
be more appropriate.
|Fuel Model N
||This fuel model was constructed specifically for the sawgrass
prairies of south Florida. It may be useful in other marsh situations where the fuel
is coarse and reedlike. This model assumes that one-third of the aerial portion of
the plants are dead. Fast-spreading, intense fires can occur even over standing
|Fuel Model O
||The O fuel model applies to dense, brushlike fuels of the
Southeast. O fuels, except for the deep litter layer, are almost entirely living in
contrast to B fuels. The foliage burns readily except during the active growing
season. The plants are typically over 6 feet tall and are often found under an open
stand of pine. The pocosins of the Virginia, North and South Carolina coasts are the
ideal of Fuel Model O. If the plants do not meet the 6-foot criteria in those areas,
Fuel Model D should be used.
|Fuel Model P
||Closed, thrifty stands of long-needled southern pines are
characteristic of P fuels. A 2- to 4-inch layer of lightly compacted needle litter
is the primary fuel. Some small diameter branchwood is present but the density of
the canopy precludes more than a scattering of shrubs and grass. Fuel Model P has
the high moisture of extinction characteristic of the Southeast. The corresponding
model for other long-needled pines is U.
|Fuel Model Q
||Upland Alaskan black spruce is represented by Fuel Model Q.
The stands are dense but have frequent openings filled with usually inflammable
shrub species. The forest floor is a deep layer of moss and lichens, but there is
some needle litter and small-diameter branchwood. The branches are persistent on the
trees, and ground fires easily reach into the tree crowns. This fuel model may be
useful for jack pine stands in the Lake States. Ground fires are typically slow
spreading, but a dangerous crowning potential exists. Users should be alert to such
events and note those levels of SC and BI when crowning occurs.
|Fuel Model R
||This fuel model represents the hardwood areas after the
canopies leaf out in the spring. It is provided as the off-season substitute for E.
It should be used during the summer in all hardwood and mixed conifer-hardwood
stands where more than half of the overstory is deciduous.
|Fuel Model S
||Alaskan or alpine tundra on relatively well-drained sites is
the S fuel. Grass and low shrubs are often present, but the principal fuel is a deep
layer of lichens and moss. Fires in these fuels are not fast spreading or intense,
but are difficult to extinguish.
|Fuel Model T
||The bothersome sagebrush-grass types of the Great Basin and
the Intermountain West are characteristic of T fuels. The shrubs burn easily and are
not dense enough to shade out grass and other herbaceous plants. the shrubs must
occupy at lease one-third of the site or the A or L fuel models should be used. Fuel
Model T might be used for immature scrub oak and desert shrub associations in the West,
and the scrub oak-wire grass type in the Southeast.
|Fuel Model U
||Closed stands of western long-needled pines are covered by
this model. The ground fuels are primarily litter and small branchwood. Grass
and shrubs are precluded by the dense canopy but occur in the occasional natural opening.
Fuel Model U should be used for ponderosa, Jeffrey, sugar pine, and red pine stands
of the Lake States. Fuel Model P is the corresponding model for southern pine